So, apparently, there wasn’t a time skip at the end of the last episode. At the beginning of this episode, Alice and Kirito join up with the Integrity Knights after seeing the cracks in the Eastern Gate… and this is the first time Alice has been in contact with the Integrity Knights.
Eldrie, Alice’s former student, is apprehensive about having Kirito around. But Alice’s mentor proves with a test that Kirito still has a will to protect others. So, he isn’t going to be the “dead weight” that Eldrie fears that he’s going to be.
Most of this episode sees Alice becoming reacquainted with people she hasn’t seen for a while. Of these encounters, the most touching is the reunion with Kirito and Eugeo’s pages from the academy. Their reactions when they see Kirito’s state and find out that Eugeo is dead were heartbreaking. But it’s during this scene that Alice learns why Kirito and Eugeo had violated the Taboo Index and killed another student, since she had never heard the reason why before. And Alice is also important here, when she comforts and gives advice to the two pages. But, with this reunion, there are now people to watch over Kirito so Alice can be fully engaged in the upcoming battle.
Oh, but prior to the pages showing up and talking with Alice, Alice almost kisses Kirito. So in this world, it looks like both Alice and Kirito’s former pages have feelings for Kirito. Asuna would be jealous if she only know. Speaking of Asuna, we still haven’t seen her appearance in Underworld yet. Where the hell is she?
We also get an amusing scene between Fanatio and Alice. When Fanatio mentions potential romantic actions with Kirito, Alice becomes jealous. They try dragging Alice’s mentor into the argument, but he’s a smart enough man to know when the walk away. Fortunately, he can use the excuse that the War Council meeting is about to begin.
Before the battle, we see Alice telling Kirito that this may be their last goodbye. Alice also has a heart-to-heart with Eldrie, and orders him to survive the battle so he can regain his former life.
Right at the end of the episode, the two sides are gathered on either side of the Eastern Gate. The words “FINAL LOAD TEST” appear, and then the Eastern Gate shatters spectacularly. The title for the next episode is something about battling between knights, so it looks like we will be continuing the story in Underworld.
Like I asked earlier, though, where’s Asuna? We know she started her dive into Underworld, but we have yet to see her anywhere. And what’s going on at Ocean Turtle? I was hoping the next episode would take us back to Ocean Turtle to see what’s going on there, but the title seems to indicate that we’ll be focusing on Underworld.
And we’ll be starting this big battle in Episode 6? There’s supposed to be 23 episodes, so how long is this battle going to take? Will we be seeing more intercutting between Underworld and Ocean Turtle in the not-too-distant future? As of right now, the pacing seems a little strange, but perhaps there will be more to the story than just this major battle at the Eastern Gate? So many questions still. Hopefully I’ll have a better sense of how this is going to go within the next few weeks.